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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 19, 2012


Prepare to stay cool in dangerously hot weather

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) advises residents of New Castle County, particularly in the City of Wilmington, that the National Weather Service (NWS) in Mount Holly, New Jersey, has placed an Excessive Heat Warning in effect until 6am, Friday, June 22, 2012. The NWS warns that Heat Indexes could reach between 98 and 103 degrees (Fahrenheit), with actual afternoon temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. Overnight lows in the area affected by the Warning are forecast between 75 and 80 degrees.

The Excessive Heat Warning means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The heat, combined with high humidity, will result in a hazardous situation in which heat-related illnesses could result.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) lists a number of precautions to take in order to safeguard health during the Excessive Heat Warning:

Stay in contact with elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they stay safe in the summer heat. Be aware of the heat danger warnings signs and take recommended actions:

Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen occurring during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.

Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms may include:

Take these steps for heat exhaustion:

Residents without access to air conditioning can avoid overheating by seeking air-conditioned public places such as stores, malls, theatres and libraries. Health officials also recommend drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated, and wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Temperatures in cars can climb dangerously high very quickly in the summertime heat. Never leave another person or a pet in a car for an extended period of time.

"It's important to take prevention steps before you experience symptoms of heat-related illness," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Drink water early and often during heat waves and take cooling breaks regularly."

Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that those who work out of doors schedule frequent breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.

DEMA Director Jamie Turner added, "As temperatures start to rise over the next few days, I encourage our citizens to stay in contact with elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they stay safe in the summer heat. We must remain aware of heat danger warnings signs and take precautions."

While Thursday is expected to be the hottest day in the period, significant relief from the excessive heat is expected to arrive Friday night and Saturday.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.